SHEFFIELD United took the lead inside two minutes through Harry Maguire but Maguire was frustrated at the end as Alan Judge had the final word with a late equaliser for County.
County scored an impressive victory by ensuring this League One fixture at sub-zero Meadow Lane could even go ahead.
Sheffield United, though, were determined to ensure Keith Curle’s side did not enjoy a double dose of success earlier this afternoon.
And MAGUIRE ensured the visitors’ bid for three precious points got off to the perfect start by heading Blackman’s corner beyond Bialkowski with less than two minutes gone.
Hughes, who wasted a decent opportunity to claim an 11th minute equaliser, was forced to concede a corner when Kitson came racing out of the traps and when United’s centre-half reacted first to the subsequent set-piece, there was only one possible outcome.
Maguire’s fellow defender, Higginbotham, thought he had doubled United’s lead soon after as Blackman’s delivery from out wide continued to cause problems.
On this occasion, though, County’s goalkeeper palmed the ball over the bar and away to safety.
Murphy swung the tide back in United’s favour though with a trademark darting run inside his marker only to see his low drive blocked.
Things went from bad to worse for County moments later when Zoko was dismissed, apparently for dissent, following the award of another free-kick in a dangerous position on the left hand side of Bialkowski’s area.
The Ivorian protested his innocence to the fourth official as he trudged down the tunnel past a motionless Keith Curle who seemed decidedly less than impressed.
The only thing United’s performance lacked, as Wilson doubtless reminded them during the interval, was more goals.Within two minutes of the re-start, only Bialkowski’s bravery and fine reactions prevented McDonald from supplying a second following another deft touch from Kitson which caught Leacock and Sheehan unawares.
To their credit, Curle’s men were clearly not prepared to give up without a fight.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, their influence grew as the hour approached and Kitson was cautioned for a foul on Hughes.
That was the cue for Kitson to be withdrawn, almost certainly as a precautionary measure, in the 62nd minute.
Curle’s charges now seemed to believe they could take something from the game. And in the 79th minute County equalised. Sheehan floated a free-kick into the danger zone after referee Haywood had awarded a free-kick out wide and JUDGE’S deft touch sent the ball past Long and into the back of the net.
Maguire punched the ground in frustration.